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SUCCESS OF THE ELGIN BUSINESS WOMEN’S NETWORK FOR 2012


We started our humble beginnings in 1997 under 10 members and as of today have 79 members.


The Admin. Team consists of Lori Wall who takes the Minutes at our monthly Admin. Committee Meetings and facilitated her first meeting when Dr. Konrad visited, and does networking in the East of our County; Linda Crawford who looks after PR and Marketing as well as Facebook, is our liaison with the St. Thomas Chamber and hosts our Exhibits; Anne Kenny who updates our Monthly Meeting List of Speakers, and facilitates meetings; Ann-Marie Cheung who does everything Website involved as well as tweets, blogs and uses facebook to initiate interest in the EBWN; Susan Fortin-Smith who is our Treasurer and Membership coordinator, handles registration and facilitates meetings; Yvonne Brooks who facilitated a recent meeting with Pamela Andersen (and what a great team), handles Salviade and does networking in the West of the County and myself. I handle registration, chair the Admin. Committee meetings and facilitate at meetings as well as tweet about new members who join our network.  I also answer e-mail, phone and website inquiries about membership.


We are a solidified team, with job descriptions, who attend to the administrative details of the EBWN.  In the beginning of this network there was one person doing all jobs.  We believe in the mindset of a volunteer and have lots of fun doing our tasks and sharing ideas.


We had a smooth transition when Mary Pfeffer left her role as Treasurer and Susan Fortin-Smith took over handling the Treasurer and Membership roles.  Susan keeps accurate and up-to-date records and also produces a Membership List which she updates on a monthly basis for the Admin. Committee.


Added to our team are: Jean Cluness who assists the Guest Speakers and Facilitators, Pamela Andersen who has taken on a new role of welcoming guests and April who is continually taking photos at our events trying to get the perfect shot of all of us.  These we see on the EBWN website.  We appreciate each of their volunteer contributions.


At our Success Meeting last year the Admin. Team sang a song, verse by verse that we all made up, Lori Wall got a wedding gift from the EBWN and we gave her some funny gifts.  We also had it here at the Wayside so it is fitting we are here once again.


We have $2,845.00 in the bank thanks to our membership renewals and new members and this amount must last us the entire year for any expenses.


We have a history of the EBWN evolution on line thanks to the efforts of Aniko Varpalotai who is a long-standing member.


We erected two commemorative plaques at The Arts & Cookery Bank on their Heritage Walkway – one to honour our beginning in 1997 and one to honour the evolution of our name to EBWN in 1999 from Women & Rural Economic Development.


Our membership is from all walks of life with a recent emphasis on health care and the farm.


We conducted a Survey on Survey Monkey which Susan Fortin-Smith will tally and give us the results – she has over 20 responses back already.  This is our second Survey which Susan has orchestrated.


We have made continual contributions to Salviade over the years which is our not-for-profit, of choice, in El Salvador.  We have also made contributions to FreshStart with their Baby Bottle drive.


We initiated Diva Awards and to date Melissa Bishop, a former EBWN member and Yvonne Brooks have received this award.  This award is given to outstanding women who have made a significant contribution and is decided upon by the Admin. Committee adhoc.


We have held monthly meetings across Elgin County from West to Central and are going to hold our summer picnic in the east at Silverthorn Landscape Supplies in either June or July.  We had a fashion show one year, we play games and mix and mingle and went to Mackie’s in Port Stanley to pig out on comfort food and dress in crazy outfits.


We’ve had our Christmas Event at Karen Huggett’s, Susan Fortin-Smith’s, at various restaurants and last year and this year it will be at the Railway Station.


We’ve spread ourselves around holding meetings at golf clubs, restaurants, at places of business and at homes.


We have had member presentations, outside guest presentations and have had learning and training sessions giving us a variety of experiences.


We have over 400 unique visitors to our website on a monthly basis.  Most people come to our Blog.  Ann-Marie Cheung is our website manager and continually advances us in social media.


We are utilizing twitter, facebook, our blog and this has been invaluable for spreading our cause professionally.  We have a positive reputation in Elgin County and beyond.


We can register for events on-line and this makes the registration task much more efficient.  Paying by PayPal has been a significant contribution to allow payment upfront for catered events and makes it easier at the Registration Desk.


We have maintained our membership fees at $40.00 with an early bird discount of $35.00 for early payment.


We updated our EBWN Membership Benefits which can be found on our website.


We all appreciate being a member of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce as well as the Dutton Chamber of Commerce which allows us to attend Business After 5 events.


We participated in the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business Sample Show as well as the Home Based Business Showcase and Sale.  Lori Wall promotes us in the East and Yvonne Brooks promotes us in the West.


We continually get in the news through our individual members and as well Linda Crawford places free ads at every opportunity she can in local papers and publications.


We participated in Elgin This Month and several EBWN members took out secondary ads.  We also participated in the YWCA Women’s Day Directory.


A long “arms length” of Successes, but most of all, the success of meeting new and old friends and colleagues on a monthly basis and expanding our own professional networking circles as well as the EBWN as a whole.


If I have forgotten any Successes you know about, now is your time to share them with the group and we will take note of them and add them to this brainstormed listed contributed by the Admin. Committee.


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